Mary's Church Cemetery,
LISTING OF PEOPLE BURIED IN THE CEMETERY
Notes with the registers of Bexwell .
The manor itself must at one time have been a much bigger place than exists now . The tithe or old barn on the edge of the parish alongside the Swaffham
/Downham road is evidently a gatehouse of a much larger manor house indicating that this was once a more important place .
The church itself is of great antiquity ....the date of the Conquest has been advanced for the building of the round tower and the nave . It is the most westerly round tower in the county and is made of local carrstone as is the octagonal belfry . Evidence for the 11th C dating is the round headed opening on the west of the tower more in the shape of a doorway , and the ring of ten round headed belfry windows near the top of the round tower , and the double windows in the north and south walls of the nave .
Entrance is through the south porch which is large and has windows to the east and west . Inside the church is plain and simple but the two facing wall memorials to the two most important families , the Bachcrofts and the Bexwells , are more imposing . They and their descendants helped to maintain the church over the centuries . More recently the church has been under the threat of redundancy and it is only that a small devoted band of parishoners work tirelessly that the church has not been closed . More donations are always welcome and proceeds from the various events are vital to the survival of the church .
The registers , where not nibbled by mice, are in good condition generally and begin in 1558. There may well have been an earlier register from 1538 the required date for records to be kept , but this has apparently not survived .
The first register is a parchment covered book with parchment leaves inside A note inside the front cover says that the book was ` Bound at
Camb. & cost two shillings . R S July 1791` which appears to indicate that the earliest pages were loose until this date .
At the same time there is an entry for a marriage between Wm Rose of ye parish singleman and Mary Chapman of ye parish singlewoman by licence 25th Sept 1791 by me Wm Royle , curate . Wm and Mary both sign with a mark , in the presence of Wm Gunton and Thos West . This marriage is not included in the main register , but the following baptism and burial are . R Sole, Rector, signs this page as does Thos Drew , cch`wn .
Another note says that on 16th June 1793 a collection at Bexwell and Holme, raised £1.11.9d for the French clergy .
On 2nd June ( probably the same year) the Rector notes that Roger Smith resigned his clerk`s place . “ N B he got into debt with Mr Drew and refused paying him . Mr Drew repaid him with ye clerk`s wages as far as they went which I was so much affronted as to resign his place .
4th August Robert Thurston , laboure, was appointed clerk by me after ye 2nd lesson in church time as ye canon directs. N B none of ye people at ye cottages can read except ye aforesaid R Smith .
1801 – answers returned to ye Quest`n contained in Act for taking an acct of the population of Great Britain , and of ye increase or diminution `re of. 1st How many houses .6. by how many families occupied .10. no house uninhabited . 2nd How many persons are there actually found within ye parish at ye time of taking ye acct distinguishing males from females . 3. Wt no are chiefly employed in agriculture, in trade , etc, and how many are not compriz`d in any of ye preceeding classes. 4. Wt no of Baptisms and burials in ye several years, 1700, 1710, 1720, 1730, 1740, 1750, 1760, 1770, 1780, and each subsequent year to ye 31 day of Dec 1800 , distinguishing males from females . Bapd 27 males 31 females , in all 58 births , Bur`d 22 males 17 females , in all bd 39 . Marr 36 in all . Signed John Bretton , clerk of
First page of original register : A booke or Register belonging to the Parish of Bexwell , conteyning the names and sirnames of all such p`sons have bene married Christened and buryed in the Church or church yard according to the Queenes Ma`ties instructions made and established by act of Parliam`t since the first years of her Ma`ty raigne w`ch was in the year 1558 and deliv`d up at the Co`t at Fincham the xxvi day of April Ano Dni 1559 Peter Matthew being churchwarden
Church St Mary's Church
RAF Airfield, Bexwell